Happy Birthday!

Posted on November 9, 2015

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When I talk to people who have never had the pleasure of meeting my mother, I always say, without fail, “She is the nicest person you will ever meet.”  It is a grand claim, yes.  But, it’s true.  Like most people, I am indifferent to the passing souls who play bit parts in my everyday life.  But not my mother.  She wants to know the random lady buying mustard who happens to be waiting in line in front of her.  She will ask strangers how their day is going.  She will talk to anyone.  And she will be sincere in her questions and genuine in her manner. But, I guess the universe had to balance out the niceness with a unique quirkiness.  For example: she has an irrational fear of frogs.  My mother is terror personified in the presence of a live toad.  It has become common place for her friend, with her sons in tow, to come into town with the sole purpose to remove toads from my mother’s yard.  With a bucket full of frogs, my mother’s saviors receive a homemade pecan pie as payment.  (And by the way, not only is my mother the nicest person you will ever meet, but she also makes the best pecan pie you will ever have.)  And while she will gladly bake her holiday goods until the late hours of the night, rarely will you find her making anything else.  She shared with me a letter I wrote to her when I was in Iraq.  I had told her that I couldn’t wait to get home to have some of my Tia Teresa’s cooking; thousands of miles away, the home cooking I craved was from my aunt.  Don’t get me wrong, the few things she makes she makes well.  And today happens to be her birthday.  I gave her gift yesterday and when I got home I realized that I forgot to give her a card.  While this won’t replace the experience of standing in the card isle at Walgreen for twenty minutes deciding on the best message written on the inside, I hope it will suffice.

Mother,

Happy birthday!  There aren’t many more ways I can tell you how much you mean to me.  I may have nearly exhausted the combinations of words that express gratitude for the life you have given me and the daily support you offer my way.  You are the only real parent I have had in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Thank you for showing me what kindness looks like, and thank you most of all for just being present in my life.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a mom who loves them unconditionally.

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